The most recent postulation regarding special relationships suggests that the universe we know – despite its almost inestimable vastness – is probably just one of many in an infinity of universes. Think of many balloons in a closed room – or perhaps in a plastic room that can expand or contract – so enormous in any configuration that we could never comprehend its totality. Plasticity has always been part of our appreciation of things universal. This is, I think, an extension of the many worlds in parallel doctrine of quantum theory. It could also be of such lineage that evidence of it may be found in theology’s concept of prefiguration as well as in John’s Gospel.
How should we go about assigning to anything or to anyone the designation of being cosmic? There are at least two principal bases. One suggests the necessity of a familial association with God. In that mode could we not all be cosmic, at least in the sense that we may be a direct product of the will of God and hence a manifestation of God. It has been suggested that we are created in God’s image, but history shows us in a most ungodly light.
Historically we are barbaric, even today. Very few of us have attributes of some divine intent unless we apply the laws of nature applicable to so called lesser creatures/orders of life to ourselves. In the so called lower orders life proceeds via the process of survival of the fittest, suggested by Darwin as the method by which we cane to be/think of ourselves as superior. Does our being merely cogent somehow elevate us above the lower orders when our intelligence leads us in so many contexts to behave as do the members of those orders? Were one to take into consideration the notions of Aryanism that see human development as a vast race war in which a superior race leads through conquest from Aryan through Tueton to Anglo Saxon/Celt, moving forward in world conquest, Darwin seems ever to be at work in the grand design.
We of course deny any such suggestions. They are certainly politically incorrect. And yet the fact of our history and the writings of our leaders, including Americans such as Theodore Roosevelt, plainly reveal that race superiority is not just some Nazi concept based upon the writings of Nietzsche – Mensch und Ubermensch. It was taught at Harvard for a rather long time as the explanation for history and the game plan for the future. Familial association can be seen to lead to our purpose being viewed as blood drenched barbarism, an attribute seen in the early 20th Century as indispensable to the success of any race pretending to ultimate superiority. Losing one’s barbarity was seen as over civilization to the point of impotency.
There is at least one alternative to our being godlike as a condition of cosmicity. Perhaps cosmicity may be more conveniently defined and attributed based upon social and historical impact upon humanity.
Impact cosmicity fits much better in any logical historical assessment, because it eliminates all the race superiority nonsense associated with Aryan theories. That I can kill my neighbor, standing alone, does not cause me to qualify as a cosmic being, even if I can replicate the exercise millions of times – remember world wars one and two, Korea, Viet Nam, the Middle East recently. Wars are necessary and the ability to fight them successfully is imperative. Some aspects of barbarity are essential to our being. We are as our creator made us.
Impact cosmicity can sometimes be predictable through prefiguration, an aspect of comprehension associated with Christian theology for centuries. Prefiguration is the potential association of some future event with a much earlier event via an understandable relationship. Illustratively, the tree of life in Genesis, the eating of the fruit of which is associated with the termination of the Eden phase of human existence (depending upon whether you believe that eating the fruit caused the eviction or, as the St James Bible says, Genesis 3:17, Adam made the mistake of listening to a woman), bringing all the pains of the world as we know it, has prefiguration properties. The tree that was the center of that suffering is said in Christian theology to prefigure the cross of Calvary.
A portrayal of this relationship is in the Cloisters collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. It is an incredibly beautiful work of artistry in the form of an altar cross made of Morse ivory (walrus ivory) and carved by a 12th century English Catholic church verger known as Master Hugo in Bury Saint Edmunds Cathedral. Its base carving depicts the tree of life in the Garden of Eden and its carvings toward the top culminate in Crist’s crucifixion and ascent into heaven. This is an artistic portrayal of the prefiguration of the cross by the tree of life in the Garden of Eden.
The relationship of these two objects in doctrinal history connote a developmental train of growth from ultimate event to ultimate event. The relationship’s durability in time suggests a continuum of enormous impact that is the essence of cosmicity.
So much of our striving to understand salvation and what its significance is in real life is the product of what was taught by Jesus Christ. I do not here refer to what is claimed by religious institutions, since the purpose of religious institutions is to achieve mind control and the accumulation of wealth through the inculcation of fear. But if you were to cross examine the Bible, for example, to weed out what cannot by any stretch of logic be attributable to Jesus or to God as the all-knowing (the ultimate intellect), mainly because of its fighting with itself in contradictory repetitions throughout the Bible, you would find a continuum of obvious genius and truth worthy of a divinely inspired intellect, whether you consider Jesus as the Son of Man or as the Son of God.
Jesus never mistreated or demonized women or relegated them to any inferior positions vis-a-vis men. That is the product of the writers of the Bible inserting their local customs as some divine mandate – an immediately obvious absurdity. That is the kind of nonsense that cross examining the Bible disposes of. There is a great deal more of chaff to be winnowed away and the task is not a short or easy one. Thomas Jefferson did that, and the Jefferson Bible is somewhat shorter.
All creation is entitled to salvation if it strives to do the best it can with what it has, even though the effort falls way short of the mark. No political creation calling itself the appointed of God has the power to revoke or amend this ultimate right or to limit the scope of human entitlement. These truths are the teachings of Jesus that cause him to be an eternal presence in human culture.
Hell is that ultimate time out room and the devil that ultimate Halloween boogeyman calculated to scare the ignorant into submission to institutional agendas having to do only with empire building and political opportunism. The adoption of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire was a political, negotiated arrangement, based upon the thought that the same ubiquitous religion would function as a cementing medium across the geographic scope of Roman hegemony.
It is significant to the purpose of this article that for the first 250 years of Christianity it was not doctrine that Jesus was the Son of God. Some places taught that He was the Son of Man as He so often describes himself in the Bible. Others taught that He was the Son of God based upon His frequent reference to God as His father. He also frequently referred to God as the father of all humanity. This obvious ambiguity led to disparities in Christian doctrine until in the third century Emperor Constantine convened the Council of Nicaea where the status of Jesus was debated and negotiated. The result of those negotiations was that thenceforth the church would teach only that Jesus was the Son of God.
It has always been accepted that Jesus was God’s messenger. His actual teachings are obviously of universal positive value to everyone, even if we are not capable of observing all of them. That is what a messenger of God would do, by definition – spread the product of obvious divine intellect. A reconciliation of some negotiated identity with His actual identity is part of any exercise in the appreciation of His cosmicity. The reconciliation most logically suggests that it matters not at all whether Jesus was the Son of God or the Son of Man because it is His message that is the ultimate value and purpose of Christian theology. Dwelling on what His paternity might have been is meaningless when compared against what his message is.
That brings us to the issue of durable ultimate significance – the stuff of which cosmicity consists. The next question is about what his cosmicity prefigured, so that we may logically follow some progression of message to the world, which was His stated intent.
He told us in John’s Gospel, speaking to his contemporaries, that we/they were not the only beneficiaries of his and of God’s grace. In His message of consummate ecumenism, John 10:16 and 14:2-3, Jesus stated clearly that God has many and His flock is not limited to just the sheep here present. He has many other sheep “not of this fold”. In furtherance of that theme Jesus said that His father’s house contains many mansions and that He would provide one for those of the present situation who accept the validity of the message and try to serve it. This clear statement that the kingdom of the Lord has many places for many different followers is the prefiguration of future religious orders not then extant. The Cosmic Christ is cosmic as a function for the continued efficacy of the message that divine justice is for all, including those who will come later and work in support of the same doctrines.
This logical construct is the prefiguration of future messengers of God, including The Prophet Mohammad (Peace be unto him), Mohandas Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King. That is the definition of ecumenism. Moreover, that messenger status is not diminished because their followers fail to live perfect productive lives in many or most instances. The message is not diminished by failure of universal obedience. It is the striving to accomplish the purposes of the message that validates the message’s cosmicity. We will always strive because we are not perfect. Humanity is definitionally faulty.
When we observe people scorning others because they are adherents to other faiths than Christianity, they deny the ecumenical message of Christ. No one can deny the message and be a follower of Christ. All cultures confront each other. That is the way of the nature that God created, and in that respect we are not better than the “lower orders”. Nor does the winning of wars exalt the winners to any higher status in the eyes of cosmic logic. We are as we are made, and if some of us lose a war it may be expected that later generations of us will win a war over those who defeated us the last time. That pattern has repeated itself throughout history.
Moreover, every religion has its yin and yang balanced doctrines. Part of them speaks to rules of life and the consequences of noncompliance. The other part speaks to the paradisiacal beauties of striving to fulfill the message. Though striving can be painful and is always a heavy burden, it is the only route and is the ever present sign of the validity of each religion and of its culture. Different societies have different social mores, and not all are acceptable to other cultures. That has been true of all historical cultures. Examination of the orthodoxy of each religion reveals the source of its repressive attributes.
Cosmicity lives in the durable impact of the cosmic message and of those who spread it.
By Seamus Muldoon, Himself
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